By Representative Julio Gonzalez
Now that the dust is settling on Fidel Castro’s death, it is important that I share some thoughts as a child of Cuban expatriates who fled the island in pursuit of freedom.
First, good riddance! Fidel Castro is one of those historic figures the world would have done better without.
My father wouldn’t have stood a chance in the new Cuban regime. He was in his early 20s and had engaged in the fatal sin of working for the American Embassy. When the Embassy closed in 1961, he went into hiding, quickly rounded up his parents and his sister, and took off. Even though he was a lowly employee in the Embassy, his fate, had he been captured by any of Castro’s thugs, would have been to be dragged out to the streets of Havana, have a handkerchief drawn across his eyes, and shot. Right there in cold blood. No questions asked.
Such was the fate of many of my father’s friends.
On the same evening of the Embassy’s closure, my mother slept on a porch across the street with instructions from her single mother, Josefina Maffiotte, to run into the Embassy, should it be reopened, and seek asylum. She was 18 years old and slept on a slab of concrete with her best friend, Miriam Martinez, waiting for the American Embassy to reopen.
It never did.
Eventually, my mother was “declared” by my family’s patriarch, Manolo Miñagorri, her uncle, and one of the greatest men I have ever known, allowing her to obtain the freedom she so desperately sought.
My mother and father eventually met at the Freedom Tower in Miami, the same Freedom Tower where, decades later, Sen. Marco Rubio, another son of expatriates, would announce his candidacy for President of the United States. I was there that day, making the three-hour drive from Venice, Florida, after seeing patients in the morning. It was the first time I had stepped into the Freedom Tower since my mom would occasionally take me to work about 45 years earlier. I was so proud to be there at that moment, I silently wept during Marco’s speech.
My first schooling was in a small school named La Luz, or The Light. It was brought to the United States by another expatriate, Dr. Gil Beltran. My schoolmates were all sons and daughters of expatriates. And every last one of us knew someone who had either been imprisoned or killed by Fidel, Raul, or their sidekick, Che Guevara. For some, it was their fathers who had either been killed or imprisoned, left to continue their lives with only one parent.
Fidel’s revolution was a self-serving power grab for the benefit of no one other than himself. There was no death for the betterment of the human condition. There was no imprisonment because the prisoner was impeding the progress of good governance. Anyone who wears a Castro or Guevara T-shirt, in my eyes, is a bumbling idiot who has no clue of what he or she is espousing; cases in point, Carlos Santana and Colin Kaepernick. And let’s not forget Kevin Costner who agreed to play a character that salaciously uttered a tribute to Che Guevarra in Rumor Has It. For the sake of my reputation and out of respect for all those who suffered at the tip of Guevara’s gun, I would have never accepted the role unless that speech was removed from the script.
Sympathy to the oppressed, not oppressor
Second, I feel deeply for all those who didn’t witness Fidel’s dying day. People like my grandmother Josefina, my uncle Manolo, his wife Concha, Dr. Beltran, Father Luis Ripol, and the countless others who lived the rest of their lives yearning for the day that Castro would die and they could finally return home.
I feel for my mother, who was so effectively separated from her father in Cuba that she didn’t hear of his death until years afterwards.
My thoughts and prayers are not with Castro’s family. For them, I only harbor resentment for whatever role they played in aiding and abetting this most disgusting tyrant.
Castro and the American political left
Third, a few comments about how Castro’s death plays into the self-destruction of America’s left are in order. The left has traditionally positioned itself as the voice of the American worker, of the struggling middle class. They have claimed to be the more sophisticated political philosophers, who believe in open dialogue and solutions through study and the free exchange of ideas.
What a farce we now see that to be!
If there is anything the last few years have demonstrated about America’s left is its evil transformation. It is not tolerant. See what happens to anyone who dares reassert that all lives matter, or simply that the lives of our law enforcement officers matter. Their reaction to losing an election to the person that became their greatest nemesis is shameful.
Because of their loss, they rabidly call for the end of the electoral college while knowing full well that doing so would destroy the concept of a federalist republic upon which our country was built and would serve to silence practically every voter west of Philadelphia and east of San Francisco. They even threaten the lives of delegates who will be casting votes for Donald J. Trump even though Trump won their states. They shout down conservative speakers and threatened them on colleges campuses — once a cornerstone of free speech. They riot in the streets and destroy neighborhoods whenever they have a grievance, real or perceived.
They do everything they can to defend and promote the mass slaughter of unborn children without any signs of remorse, and resist — yes, they actively resist — efforts by groups whose goal is not to prohibit abortions, but to offer women alternatives to electively aborting a baby, such as adoption.
For today’s American left, all that matters is the promotion of their destructive and oppressive agenda.
And when it comes to Castro’s death, they eulogize him with comparisons to George Washington, ridiculously declaring that this monster of a man loved the Cuban people. Yes, in exactly the same way Stalin “loved” the Russian people.
Today’s left will never ask what it can do for its country. It is only asking what it can impose on others.
The tragic fact is that Fidel Castro died at 90 years of age of natural causes, his bloody footprints deeply embedded in Cuba’s soil and his path of destruction cast upon Cubans and Cuban exiles blessed enough to be living in the greatest, most exceptional nation on earth.
No, my heart is not lighter today knowing that Castro has finally died. My heart is heavy knowing that my family members in Cuba are still living in an oppressive state, and it sinks even deeper when I consider the audacity of those who try to turn a monster into a martyr.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopedic surgeon, lawyer and State Representative for South Sarasota County, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages, available at www.thefederalistpages.com or at Amazon. He is available for speaking engagements and can be reached at [email protected].